A government report released this week in the Marshall Islands shows that the job market in the country improved slightly in 2006compared with the previous year, with the number of jobs increasing modestly in both the private sector and the national government.
But the Economic Policy, Planning and Statistics Office report says private sector jobs paid an average of just over 5-thousand US dollars annually in contrast to government salaries that averaged more than double this amount.
The report says the private sector showed improvement following a bad year in 2005, when a former tuna processing plant went bankrupt, sending more than 600 Marshallese into the ranks of the unemployed.
In 2004, the number of jobs in the business sector was 3,723.
In 2005, that number plummeted to 3,112 after the closure of the tuna processing plant .
Last year, jobs in the private sector increased by eight percent over 2005, to 3,368.
Despite the small increase, unemployment in the country is estimated at more than 34 percent.